Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Flower Garden

For years, I struggled with having some flowers.

The east side of our house (the front) has a couple 'beds' but we could get nothing to grow there except weeds.


We asked advise of our gardening expert Great Uncle Sandy and at his word, we mixed peat moss in the soil.

No good.

These beds are a challenge - they get no water when it rains because of the large overhang on our house,  and little sun because of the east side location.  

One year, Daniel and I worked hard to make the bed on the south side of the front door presentable.  I planted a few perennials and covered the soil with weed mat then covered the weed mat with white rock.  Not only did we work hard, but this was a rather costly venture.

Most of the perennials have prospered over the years.  But not as much as the weeds.

The weed mat did not keep them down.

Understand, we have some especially pernicious weeds - one, in particular, looks like rhubarb until it is big enough you need an axe to cut it down.


Once it gets to be that big, (and it grows incredibly quickly)  it develops terrible burrs that get tangled into the dogs' fur and must be cut out.

Not to mention, it is ugly.

I've attacked this 'plant' with every weed killer on the market to no avail.  (Even roundup)  I've applied the weed killers using several different methods.  I've dug out the roots (I thought).

There are more of these plants than ever in my yard - mostly around the house.

The latest advise we've been given is to pour diesel fuel on them.

But then nothing would ever grow on that spot again, so I'm a little conflicted.   For now, I try to keep them cut down before they get to the hatchet stage.

Anyway, I got kind of discouraged about my front 'flower beds' and I never did anything to the bigger one under the living room window.

It is easy to forget about these beds, though, since we do not use the front door and I rarely turn to drive past the house.

The back yard presented an opposite challenge.

Too MUCH sun.

And wind.

Also, there were no beds dug anywhere near the house.

I have planted flowers in the vegetable garden, but it is still a vegetable garden.   I tried some perennials in the garden a couple times, but when the garden was prepared for winter, people would just rototill over them, not realizing they were permanent.

Finally, a few years ago, in an attempt at 'beautifying' my ugly, falling - apart back deck, I began to place flowers in containers around the deck.   Each year I've added a few more containers.  (Oh, and in September, 2010 we replace the old deck which made it even more inviting to place flowers on it)

I really love my 'deck garden' and want to share this year's version with you.

So here are photos of my garden as of July 2, about a week or so after it was completed.  Already, only 2 weeks later, it has changed significantly.

Ok, there will be some photos from today as well, but I'll point those out, so unless I mention it, all the photos are from July 2.

First is the view along the house from the back door...

A major change this year was to paint the old rickety chairs that Daniel found in the ditch one year and have since been used as 'plant stands'.    I love the green of this chair!  It just makes me smile.

This photo is from July 17 - simply because the Lobelia had grown SO much....and the daisy-like flowers have multiple blooms now.

I wish I'd chosen a brighter pink spray paint for this little ladder, but it was the first thing I painted.

I had to make a change to the 'ladder plants'.  The flowers in the watering can got baked in the heat wave.  The pot was just too small to retain any water (the pot just sits in the watering can - the can itself has only rocks in it to keep it from blowing around in the wind)

A 'succulent' should fare better when it is hot, don't you think?

Excuse the dirt on the deck and the ladder - it has been raining (sometimes quite hard) for a couple days.  Rain tends to transfer dirt from the containers onto whatever the container is sitting on.

I'm going to try a few perennials this year.  They will have to be moved down to the root cellar before heavy frost and then brought up as soon as the heavy frost is past in the spring.  It will be fun to see if they survive.

The plant (above) to the left is a coneflower.  Here it is again (July 17) after it has bloomed....

I have 5 tomato plants.  Two of them are positioned on top of my 'potting table', making more room for the flowers.   The vines are heavy with tomatoes by now - and a few have even started to ripen.

Please excuse the mess of the old 'upper' deck.....this is just outside the garage door and is the main receptacle for the construction 'cast offs'.

Below is the plant on the left - 15 days later.....

(You might notice I need to weed-eat around the containers again)

The next two photos are the progress of the flowers on the top step (6 photos above)

The 'other' chair.   I love the bright colour of this one, too.

When I saw this 'flower pot' in the store I could not resist it!  The opening is very small and difficult to put plants into, but so worth it!   (Photo July 17)

We like ornamental grasses and I always try to have one pot with some type of grass....

Finally, you may have noticed solar lights in some of the pots (as the one above)  These small, inexpensive additions make the deck look so pretty after dark (although, we do have to stay up quite late to appreciate them).    I tried to take some photos of them all lit up, but without a tripod, they just did not work out too well.

Still, I want to show you my 'dragonflies'....... almost invisible during the day, at night they float above the deck in changing colours.....

Ah, summertime.


Dee Porterfield said...

Love, love, love your container garden. I have always enjoyed those so much more than laboring to get a whole bed to thrive. (Plus it's easier to bend over and weed the containers than dig on the ground.) And I love the bright colors of the chairs and other containers. I might have to try this next year. When I've done containers in the past, the main thing I had to remember was to water them religiously. Have you tried any vegetable container gardening? That's something I want to try also.

arlene said...

So beautiful, Karyn! I love all the colours in your garden. Your thumb is getting greener all the time.

You know what works better than weed mat? A really thick layer of wet newspaper, with mulch on top. I use wood chips, but you could use the rocks you've already purchased.

Anonymous said...

So very pretty and cheerful honey.

Jerralea said...

Very pretty, Karyn! I'm doing more and more container gardening myself. We are surrounded by soil that is "gumbo." In the extreme heat our area has been having, the ground dries up hard as a rock and splits into huge cracks...It makes it hard to beautify our yards ...

Jan said...

It looks beautiful! The chairs and stool are so fun and colorful- I love it! What a great idea!

I adore the smiling pot that your lobelia is in! Where can I get one?

The pretty pink flowers that you have a before and after shot of are dianthus and are perrenial. I have quite a few in my gardens. Not sure if you knew that they were perrenials or not. I didn't realize it when I first got mine.

Jeremy Beauregard said...

At least you have the alternative option of growing the perennials by putting them in small pots. Those flowers can still bloom, even if they are placed in a limited space. As for the weeds in your beds, have you tried to remove them by hand and spade, or treated them with herbicide?